Multi-grain Veggie Paratha

During winters, multi-grain paratha in breakfast and multi-grain roti in lunch/dinner is a common affair in my household. Normally we get the flour processed from the whole grains from the flour-mill and use it throughout the winter season.

Roti/paratha is our staple diet and is made daily at my home. However, instead of mixing all the flours together, I prefer storing them separately. So this allows me to try different combinations depending on our taste-buds.

Multi-grain paratha can be combination of all four – sorghum (jowar), pearl millet (bajra), maize (makki) and whole wheat (gehun) flour or mixing any two or three flour. Here I have used the mix of all four flours.

To raise its health and taste quotient, I also add grated vegetables in the flour. Believe me, this vegetable paratha tastes wonderful with butter, jaggery and fresh curd.

multi-grain parathaBeing easy-to-make and quite filling, makes it a perfect breakfast menu. It’s something that is healthy, tasty and keeps our hunger pangs under control till lunch time.

Ok, now it’s time to list down the procedure to make this mixed-grain paratha.

Ingredients

  • Sorghum (Jowar) flour: ¼ cup
  • Pearl millet flour (bajra): ¼ cup
  • Maize flour (makki): ¼ cup
  • Whole wheat flour (gehun): ¼ cup
  • Grated cabbage: ½ cup
  • Beetroot: ¼ cup
  • Capsicum: ¼ cup
  • Cumin: ½ tsp
  • Salt as per taste
  • Ghee
  • Water to knead the dough

Procedure

  • Bring together all four flours, salt, cumin and veggies (of your choice). Add water to knead the dough. Do not knead the dough in advance. Knead the dough only when you are about to make parathas, otherwise vegetables and salt will release water and make the dough soft. multigrain flour and veggies
  • Divide the dough into small balls and roll the paratha’s. Apply little hand pressure while rolling these as they tend to stick to the surface and break while lifting. Sprinkle little flour on surface before rolling the paratha this will prevent paratha from sticking on surface.
  • Heat the girdle and roast the paratha from both the sides. Apply ghee as much as you want. I use home-made ghee which is pure and healthy. Its misconception that ghee should be totally avoided as it contains fat. Yes ghee does contain fat but it’s healthy when used in balanced way.

These days I prepare home-made ghee in microwave it’s easy and convenient as compared to traditional hob method.

Multi grain paratha tastes good with any sabzi with gravy or curd. Jaggery, curd and butter combination with multi-grain paratha is the most preferred option at my home.

multi-grain paratha with curdHave it the way you like it. It’s healthy and adds variation to our daily breakfast preparations.

I would love to know what other variations you make in paratha as I’m always looking out for healthy paratha options.

Shining Gem of Indian jewelry- Navaratna Jewelry

Conversation with a dear bhaili made me realize, though Navaratna jewelry is popular these days, only few realize its astrological significance. Ladies are attracted to it as it’s colorful and blends with most of the outfits and compliment all skin tones.

However, there is more to it than just showing off a Navaratna necklace as a statement jewelry.

Navaratna NecklaceWhat is the significance of Navaratna jewelry?

The term “Navaratna” means “nine gems”. Navaratna jewelry is associated with rich colorful gemstones and has astrological significance. It’s considered as a symbolic of luck and prosperity.

Why is it so popular these days?

Navaratna jewelry has a grand royal larger-than-life look to it. The vivid-colored shimmering stones can bring life to even your dull pastel colored outfits. Earlier it was considered as the jewelry of the royals. With the passage of time things have change and anyone willing to spend some generous amount of money can buy it.

How has it changed over period of time?

Earlier Navaratna jewelry meant only heavy sets with lots of gold making it bulking and pricey. These days light weight contemporary touch Navaratna jewelry is available.

Historically speaking, Navaratna jewels were mostly worn as a good-luck charm in either pendants or rings. However, these days Navaratna is popular in all kinds of jewelry – be it necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings.

Navaratna EarringsIs there any specific order in which gems are placed in a Navaratna jewelry?

Navaratna jewelry is conceptualized around Solar System with ruby in the center (representing the Sun) encircled by 8 planetary gemstones, the combination of which is considered very scared and regal. So it’s very Important that in Navaratna jewelry piece placement of gems should be as shown in the below image.

Position of 9 gems in navaratna jewelry
Position of 9 gems in navaratna jewelry

Following are the 9 gemstones of Navaratna jewelry along with their symbolic meaning and therapeutic relevance:

  1. Ruby (Sun): Health, wisdom, wealth and love.
  2. Diamond (Venus): Name, fame and creativity.
  3. Pearl (Moon): Strength to heart.
  4. Red Coral (Mars): Courage and cure of blood related diseases.
  5. Hessonite or Garnet (moon’s ascending node, i.e. “Rahu” in Hindu mythology): Fulfills ambitions, improves social relationships and protects from sudden misfortune.
  6. Blue sapphire (Saturn): Wisdom and purity, and protects from evil effects of Saturn.
  7. Cat’s Eye (moon’s descending node, i.e. “Ketu” in Hindu mythology): Protection from enemies, mysterious dangers and diseases.
  8. Yellow sapphire (Jupiter): Success in career and stability in love-life.
  9. Emerald (Mercury): Protection from illnesses, physical danger and evil.

Do you know, when only one gemstone is worn, its effect is limited to only that corresponding planet or a specific problem. While wearing a Navaratna ornament results in positive energy of all nine planetary gemstones.

You can add Navaratna jewelry to your jewelry collection even without consulting any astrologer and without worrying about any adverse effect. If the placement of gems in Navaratna jewelry is in order it always bring positive result to the wearer.

Happy shopping!

Kadha (Kahwaa) – Cough & Cold Home Remedy

One needs to be extra careful when the winter sweeps in and at the time it’s leaving. It’s an age old saying “watch yourself from coming winters and leaving winters”. We are prone to get caught in cough and cold during this season-change time.

This time I couldn’t save myself from the trap of cough and cold. However, as far as possible, I stay away from popping pills, and have those only if it’s really necessary. I’m firm believer in age-old home remedies and luckily they work for me.

Taking a hot glass of turmeric milk is common practice in my household when affected by cough and cold, and when cough and cold brings along with it sore throat and body pain then this age old kadha recipe comes to rescue.

Kadha ready to serve
Kadha ready to serve

It’s a simple kaadh or kahwaa but it’s very effective. It’s made from dry spices, holy basil (tulsi leaves) and fresh ginger that are easily available at our homes.

Spices used in Kadha
Spices used in Kadha

It can be taken by anyone – elders as well as children. While making for children just reduce the quantity of black pepper.

Ingredients

Makes 1 cup

  • Black peppercorns: 5-6
  • Cloves: 3-4
  • Cardamom: 2
  • Cinnamon stick: 1 inch
  • Black cardamom: 1
  • Fresh ginger: ½ inch
  • Holy Basil (Tulsi leaves): 5-6 leaves
  • Turmeric powder: ½ tsp
  • Ghee: 1 tsp
  • Honey: 2 tsp

Procedure

  • Take all the ingredients except turmeric powder and crush them.
kadha crush the spices
Crush the spices
  • Take 2 cups of water, add all the crushed ingredients, turmeric powder and simmer on low flame for 15 minutes .
Boil the spices in water
Boil the spices in water
  • Keep it covered and reduce the  water to half.
  • It will attain nice golden color. Strain it and add honey and ghee. I use home-made ghee instead of ready-made one.
  • Have it as soon as you make it. Drink it hot sip-by-sip.
Soothing hot kadha
Soothing hot kadha

You can keep the residue left after straining kadha and make the next batch of kadha from it. You can have it twice a day.

These dry spices give much needed warmth to body while ghee loosens the dry cough. It also soothes throat and relieves body pain.

Best part is it tastes really good and has a strong flavor. I’m fond of its strong flavors and heavenly aroma. In winters, sometimes I skip my evening cup of tea and have this kadha instead.

Whenever I catch cold, sipping this kadha is all I want, this gives me comfort. Just make sure you don’t drink water immediately after having it, wait for some time.

Don’t take this as a medical advice. It’s an age-old recipe of my family and it give us relief from cough and cold. I hope this helps you too.

Tamarind Jaggery Chutney

Any chaat is incomplete without tamarind (imli) chutney. It adds life to any chaat and its sweet and tangy taste balances the spicy chaat.

I prefer making tamarind chutney with jaggery (gud) instead of sugar. Although, use of sugar makes it light colored and looks more appealing. However, when it comes to food, I am someone who prefers health over looks. So, when it comes to sugar vs jaggery, I always choose the latter wherever possible. After all gud is many times healthier than sugar.

tamarind-jaggery-chutney
Tamarind jaggery chutney

I was (I still am) so fond of this chutney in my childhood days that it’s mere aroma would bring water in my mouth. I used to wait for my mother to get ready with her imli ki chutney, so that I could pounce on it. 🙂

It’s my all-time favorite. For me, tomato sauce comes nowhere near tamarind chutney. I can have it with anything. I mean anything, even with khichadi!

I make tamarind chutney in two ways: one is cooked version and the other is instant non-cook version. List of ingredients is almost same in both the versions.

Ingredients

  • Tamarind (imli): 1 cup
  • Jaggery (gur): 1 1/2 cup
  • Chili powder: 1 tsp
  • Roasted and powdered cumin seeds (jeera): 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida (hing): ¼ tsp
  • Black salt: ½ tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Water: 2 cups

Process – 1 (cooked version)

  • It’s a simple process and you can prepare and keep this version of chutney in refrigerator for months.
  • Wash and soak the tamarind in 1 cup water for 2 hour. Remove the seeds and blend in mixer and strain the pulp through a sieve.
  • In a heavy bottom vessel add water, pieces of jaggery, tamarind pulp other ingredients and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
  • Let it cool and store in air tight container. Keep it refrigerated and it will last for months.

Process – 2 (non-cook version)

When there is instant plan to have chaat or Paani-puri in family and I’m running out of tamarind chutney, this version comes handy. This instant chutney does not have glossy shine and thick texture like the cooked one but it tastes equally good. The process to make instant tamarind chutney is even simpler.

  • Take the soaked de-seeded tamarind and mix grated jaggery in a blender.
  • Strain it, add salt, dry spices except asafoetida, and use it. This chutney will last for a week in refrigerator.

When you need small amount of chutney this non-cook version is more suitable. When in mood to make and use for longer duration go for the first option.

Tamarind chutney blends well with tikkis and kebabs too. Like here I have served Moong dal tikki (split yellow gram) with green coriander chutney and tamarind chutney.

Add it to any chat to make it tasty and use it as often as you want. The sweet and tangy taste will make you lick your finger as it still makes me do the same.

Making my Favorite Paani-Puri/Gol-Gappa

In Pune one thing I miss the most is Paani-puri – street food of almost all regions of India. Pune has its own street food Vaada-pav and Missal, but paani-puri or gol-gappa has its own fan following. I’m a big-time, die-hard fan of paani-puri. It’s something I can never have enough of.

It has so many names like: in Bihar we call it “Gup-Chup” while my husband who is from Uttar Pradesh calls it “Pani Ke bataashe”. My cousins from Kolkata call it “Puchka”. I guess there must be other names too.

In teenage it was an unsaid custom that if we are out for shopping, having paani–puri while returning home was a must. However, I miss this (eating paani-puri at roadside) now, because my husband being very hygiene-conscious is not in favor of eating roadside paani-puri.

Instead, he is more inclined towards home-made paani-puri. So, earlier I used to make the filling and water at home, and got puris from store. But I missed the authentic taste in store-bought stale paani-puris.

Therefore, under my MIL’s (mom-in-law) guidance I started making puri’s too at home. I make the puri’s and store it in an air tight container. Make the accompaniments of chick-pea filling and spicy and tangy water whenever we feel like having. Now I can enjoy the authentic street-side taste that I love and the best part is it’s totally hygienic and free of any preservatives.

paani puri ready to eat
My favorite street food Paani-puri

Making puris at home is a very simple and easy but a time-taking process. However, if you really miss the fresh and authentic taste, you won’t mind putting the hard-work. Having said that, you can easily opt for store-bought option when in hurry.

So here is the process of making home-made puris.

Makes around 50 puris

Ingredients for Puris

  • Semolina (rava/soozi): 1 cup
  • All purpose flour (Maida): 1 tbsp.
  • Oil for frying
  • Water to knead the dough

Ingredients for Paani

  • Chopped mint leaves: 1 cup
  • Chopped coriander leaves: ¼ cup
  • Tamarind pulp: ¼ cup
  • Green chilies: 5-6
  • Dry ginger powder: ½ tsp
  • Roasted cumin seeds: 1tsp
  • Jal-jeera powder: 1tsp (optional)
  • Black salt: 1 tsp
  • Salt: as per taste
  • Water: 4 cups

Ingredients for Chickpea Filling

  • Soaked chickpea: 1 cup
  • Salt as per taste
  • Turmeric: 1 tsp

Process for Puris

  • Mix semolina and all-purpose flour, and knead the dough (like for making rotis). No need to add salt, oil or baking soda in the dough. Cover the dough with damp muslin cloth and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  • Semolina will absorb the water and dough will become little hard. Sprinkle little water and knead the dough again to make soft dough. You will notice dough have gained elasticity.

paani-puri dough

  • Divide the dough into small balls – even smaller than marbles. Cover the balls with moist kitchen cloth.
  • Damp a muslin cloth and spread it on a big plate. Now roll the thin puris with the help of rolling pin and spread on this cloth. Keeping the puris on damp cloth will prevent them from drying.
rolling puris
Rolled puris
  • Keep covering the puris with the cloth while you are rolling the others. It’s important that they remain moist. As moisture in puri’s turns into steam and makes puri puff-up on deep frying.

My MIL was worried that in the photo clicking process I might dry the puris. So, I had to be very quick in clicking pictures. 🙂

  • Heat the oil in a vessel. Drop a puri in hot oil on medium flame and instantly start pressing it with a frying spoon. The puri will puff up. Move it aside in oil do not turn upside down.
  • Drop another puri. You can add 4-5 puris in one batch. Now start turning the puris upside-down. You will notice the golden color. All must have turned golden by now. Wait for few seconds and start taking them out.
paani-puri after frying
Paani-puri after frying
  • Transfer them to an absorbent paper and store in air-tight container when they cool down.

Process for Paani

  • Soak the tamarind in 1 cup water for 2 hour. Remove the seeds and blend in mixer and strain the pulp through a sieve.
  • Mix mint, coriander leaves and green chilies to make a fine paste in the blender.
  • Take a big bowl and add this fine paste, tamarind pulp and rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  •  Make the paani 2-3 hours before serving. This helps spices to blend and enhance the flavor. In summers make the water and shift it to refrigerator, because cool water will be more refreshing. If short on time then drop few ice cubes.

Process for Chickpea Filling

  • Wash and soak the chickpeas overnight. Add salt, turmeric and cook them in pressure cooker.
  • Puris can be enjoyed with potato or chick-pea filling and tangy spicy flavored water. Here I have made boiled chickpea filling.

It’s time to eat!

I first make hole in the center, add chickpea filling, add tangy tamarind chutney and finally dip in spicy flavored paani. Immediately transfer it to my already watering mouth. No waiting period here. 🙂

paani puri close up
This is how I like my paani-puri

Till now I have never come across any Indian lady who is not fond of paani-puri. Also, it’s a usual thing to ask the pani-puri vendor to adjust the taste as per personal liking. Some like it tangy while some spicy.

This is how I make my favorite paani-puri. What’s your version? Do share with me your combinations.

Making Gulab-Jamuns with Mawa

There are so many recipes of making Gulab-jamun. Like, making gulab-jamuns from milk powder or using bread crumbs to make gulab-jamuns. Traditional recipe of combining mawa (khoya) and paneer (cottage cheese) is an evergreen one.

gulab jamun ready to eat
gulab jamun ready to eat

I prefer those recipes that allow me to use ingredients that I already have at home. I make gulab-jamun using milk powder when I have milk powder at home and want to make some use of it.

When I have residue mawa left from making ghee at home I opt for this recipe to make super soft gulab-jamuns. It’s an easy to make recipe with basic ingredients available at home. I prefer using home-made paneer than ready made ones. However this recipe can be followed to make gulab-jamuns from ready-made mawa and paneer.

mawa from ghee making
residual mawa

Gulab jamun is a popular Indian sweet during festival times. In my family all are blessed with sweet tooth and we need some reason to have desserts. When we have khoya at home it becomes a common discussion at dinner table that what next can be made from it.

In-fact we already had discussion on what can be made from sugar syrup that remains from these gulab-jamun! I suppose my next post will probably be on that. 🙂

So here is the process I follow to make gulab-jamuns.

  • Making time: 45 minutes
  • Serving: 20 pieces (medium-size)

Ingredients for sugar syrup:

  • Sugar: 2 1/2 cup
  • Water: 3 cups
  • Saffron: few strands
  • Cardamom: ½ tea spoon

Ingredients for gulab-jamuns:

  • Mawa: 2 cups
  • Paneer: 1/4 cup
  • All purpose flour (maida): ¼ cup
  • Baking soda: ¼ tea spoon
  • Milk: few spoons
  • Rose extract: ½ tea spoon (optional)
  • Oil/ghee for deep frying
  • Almonds, saffron, Pistachios for garnishing

Procedure of sugar syrup:

  • To make the syrup add water and sugar into a vessel and put it on low flame. It will approximately take 15 minutes.
  • Take a drop of syrup between your finger tip, join your fingers and move them apart. You must see a strand. This is called “ek taar ki chaasni”. We need “ek taar ki chasni” for gulab-jamuns.

You must have heard “ek taar” and “do taar ki chasni” in context of making Indian sweets. I use to get intimidated by these culinary jargon’s. Now I know it simply means no of strings you get during the finger-test. 🙂

Make the sugar syrup (chaasni) and keep aside. The sugar syrup should be at room temperature while putting gulab-jamuns into it. If the syrup is hot gulab-jamuns will burst.

Also, sugar will thicken a bit on cooling. So, it’s advisable to make it before-hand you will get exact idea on cooling and no chance of any doubt. If on cooling you find syrup too runny put it again on flame and if it’s too thick on cooling just add little water and heat a little. See it’s so easy! 🙂

  • Add few strands of saffron, cardamom powder and rose extract in this syrup and keep aside.

Procedure of Gulab jamuns:

  • If the mawa is kept in fridge keep it out for 30 minutes. It will return to room temperature and become soft.
  • Take paneer and mawa in a big plate and mix with hand. After rubbing pass the mixture through the grater. This will further remove any lumps if any and give smooth mixture.
gulab jamun grate the mixture
After grating the mixture
  • Add all purpose flour, baking soda and mix thoroughly. You will notice mixture leaving ghee and your palms will be greasy. The mixture should be soft enough to bind into balls, there shouldn’t be any cracks. If there are any cracks balls will break while frying.
  • If it’s difficult to bind into balls without visible cracks, it means mixture is dry. Sprinkle few drops of milk and then try to bind. You can choose either round or cylindrical shape. Keep the size small as it will double up when soaked in sugar syrup.
gulab jamun shape the dough
shape the dough
  • Before shaping all the balls let them pass through the frying test. To do the frying test, drop two three small balls into hot oil. See if balls are maintaining their shape and are not bursting. If they pass the test then fry other balls too.
  • Just in case if the balls are bursting, sprinkle few drops of milk and mix properly.  Shape the balls and fry them on low flame till they turn golden brown.
  • Carefully fry all the gulab-jamuns in small batches say five at a time. These gulab-jamuns are soft so frying in small batches reduces their chances of breaking.
  • Dip the gulab-jamuns in sugar syrup. Cover the vessel with a plate and let the gulab-jamun soak the syrup for 2 hours before serving. You will notice the size of gulab jamuns have increased.
gulab jamun in sugar syrup
gulab-jamuns soaked in sugar syrup
  • Garnish with few almond, pistachios pieces before serving. Can be served warm or at room temperature.

gulab-jamun

Which other Indian sweets come to your mind while reading this post? What do think what else can be made using residue mawa?